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Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the category “USA”

The ESS Iron Flow Battery

We have spent so much time digging into grid energy storage solution, and well this, might be the most promising solution we’ve come across. The ESS Iron Flow Battery requires no lithium, nickel, or cobalt. The only ingredients are water, salt, and iron. Flow batteries aren’t perfect, and they aren’t made for every application, but when it comes to grid energy storage, there’s a LOT to love about the ESS Iron Flow Battery! Let’s dig into it, on this episode, of Two Bit da Vinci!

[essinc.com] – Company site
[wikipedia.org] – Flow battery
[deepresource] – Our flow battery posts

World’s Oldest CSP Plant Retired

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Most of SEGS’s 1984 356 MW CSP thermal solar plants in the Californian desert are, or are to be retired. Some units have been replaced by PV-parks. In the US, solar power generation consisted of 3.3% solar thermal power, with the remaining 96.7% utility-scale solar PV. In 2015 the last US solar thermal plant was built. CSP enjoys more interest outside the US.

[cleantechnica.com] – World’s Longest-Operating Solar Thermal Facility Is Retiring Most Of Its Capacity

Tesla 4680 Battery Pack

The bottleneck for Tesla is not so much producing cars, but acquiring sufficient battery capacity for them.

[reuters.com] – Tesla’s plans for batteries, China scrutinized as Musk drops features
[evspecifications.com] – Panasonic develops the 4680 battery cell for Tesla
[insideevs.com] – Tesla Shows First 4680 Cells And Pack Video
[insideevs.com] – Sandy Munro Reveals His Tesla 4680 Battery Pack Mock-Up
[asiafinancial.com] – Tesla Pressured to Deliver Amid Questions Over Batteries, Bitcoin, China

Analysts expect slip in US EV-maker’s second-quarter results; Critical launch of self-produced battery has suffered series of setbacks. Tesla Inc has weathered the pandemic and supply chain crisis better than many of its rivals, achieving record deliveries last quarter – but Chief Executive Elon Musk now faces pressure to deliver on breakthrough batteries and new factories and models, which are late… Musk last month pushed back the debut of the 4680s by cancelling the longest-range Model S Plaid+, which he had said would use the cells, sparking concern. He has said 4680s would go into volume production next year and would be used in the Model Y from the Texas factory under construction. Now, Tesla aims to produce vehicles with 4680 batteries starting with small volumes this year in as-yet-unfinalised models, sources told Reuters.

A little skepticism here:

[wired.com] – Where Was the Battery at Tesla’s Battery Day?

Musk had promised to show the world something “very insane” that would result in a “step change in accelerating sustainable energy.” This turned out to be a fat lithium-ion battery called a 4680—a reference to its diameter, 46 millimeters, and its length, 80 millimeters—that is being produced in-house at Tesla. To be sure, Tesla’s new battery appears to offer large performance gains in a few key areas, but it was unclear whether Tesla has actually achieved these upgrades or whether this is the projected performance for the finalized battery.

Read the Youtube comments for more skepticism.

The US Missed Out on Access to $1-3 Trillion Afghan Resources

[source] China has a new client state.

The prominent Dutch newspaper Nieuwe Rotterdamse Courant (NRC) sees the recent events in Afghanistan as the Death Knell to American Hegemony. The NRC is a US-friendly newspaper, like all media in Western Europe, empire thingy.

A few hours after the Taliban took over power in Kabul, the Chinese already signaled to be ready for friendly relations with these warriors, straight from the 7th century. Afghanistan is very mineral rich; most interesting potential: lithium, rare earths, gold, silver, zinc, iron.

But most interesting are the lithium deposits, that could be one of the largest reserves in the world, matching those in size of South-America:

[mining.com] – $1 Trillion Motherlode of Lithium and Gold Discovered in Afghanistan

A recently unearthed 2007 United States Geological Service survey appears to have discovered nearly $1 trillion in mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself.

The US suffered a major geopolitical defeat, and an unnecessary one. The willing European allies were caught by surprise by this blunder (Alzheimer president, Alzheimer policies). For the unwillingness to pay a small price of an occupation force of merely a few thousand troops, the West lost access to immense commodity reserves. China got Afghanistan and its resources thrown into its lap, thank you very much!

And another major potential geopolitical fact has been overlooked so far, namely that China now has a land bridge to Iran via Afghanistan as well, after it acquired a first one since 2015, via Pakistan. Pakistan and Afghanistan, nice-to-have’s for the Chinese and their New Silk Road project. Don’t be surprised that one day, when the dust has settled, China, Afghanistan and Iran announce the construction of a pipeline between Iran and China over Afghan territory, making China less vulnerable to Anglo maritime blockades of the Gulf. Dirt-poor Afghanistan needs to be propped up economically by some Big Spender, who doesn’t interfere with internal policies and value-systems. That big spender is going to be China, not the West.

[Stratfor] China now has TWO landbridges to Iran and the Gulf: Pakistan and Afghanistan. SCO (Russia + China) now dominates everything between the Arctic Sea and the Gulf and Himalaya. The Godfather of modern geopolitics, Halford John Mackinder, is turning in his grave.

Expect China to operate much smarter that then West, that tried in vain to impose its insane globalist-Marxist ideologies onto a deeply Islamic country. The US research institute Pew noted in 2013 [*] that Afghanistan is the most archaic Islamic country on earth, with 99% supporting the Sharia as the desired law of the land and no less than 85% supported stoning [**] as an acceptable form of punishment. The reason why the Taliban took over the country in record time, was that the Taliban IS Afghanistan. Western media love to present rare liberal-minded female Afghan collaborators from Kabul without headwear, but these people are the exception. The vast majority supports the Taliban.

In 1980, the USSR invaded Afghanistan in order to keep a communist regime in the saddle. The Soviets lost the war against the Jihadists, were forced to withdraw, and shortly after, their society collapsed. Expect a similar result for America, after abandoning the “Graveyard of Empires”, and having to face the 2nd test: the Chinese Hong Kong-style take-over of Taiwan. The US will fail to protect that country as well. After that exercise, Beijing will own Taiwan, with its main economic asset, TSMC, responsible for perhaps 50% of the world’s chip production, the numbers vary depending on who you ask:

[economist.com] – How TSMC has mastered the geopolitics of chipmaking

The most important firm in this critical business is Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (tsmc). It controls 84% of the market for chips with the smallest, most efficient circuits on which the products and services of the world’s biggest technology brands, from Apple in America to Alibaba in China, rely.

[asia.nikkei.com] – The $490bn question: Can the world afford its Taiwan chip dependence?

Asia has become the heart of global semiconductor production as the industry has grown, thanks partly to the international division of labor between design and manufacturing. Taiwan and South Korea together account for about 43% of semiconductor production capacity worldwide, according to a Boston Consulting Group report. The U.S. has dropped 7 percentage points over the past two decades to 12%, and has been surpassed by China at 15%.

It’s obvious that Taiwan is FAR more important than Hong Kong. If Beijing takes back their “renegade province”, China will dominate the global chip market.

For Europe, the situation isn’t that dire, because it is a little known fact that the Dutch company of ASML controls more than 90% of the market for chips manufacturing machines (yours faithfully is intimately acquainted with ASML, from the inside). ASML, not TSMC, Intel, Apple, Samsung, etc., holds all the technological cards, meaning that China won’t have that much long-term leverage over Europe. But over the US, they will have.

If the EU decided to forbid exporting these machines to China, Japan and the US, said countries would fall back to the industrial Stone Age in a couple of years. Tantalizing thought. Whatever, the EU is well advised with reducing its chips manufacturing capacity from East-Asia, as the EU intends to do.

[dw.de] – Afghanistan: Taliban to reap $1 trillion mineral wealth
[cnn.com] – The Taliban are sitting on $1 trillion worth of minerals the world desperately needs
[n-tv.de] – Taliban sitzen auf riesigem Lithium-Vorkommen
[rtlnieuws.nl] – China wil Afghaanse grondstoffen: er ligt voor meer dan 1000 miljard

[source] Afghan mineral resource map

Read more…

DHL Express Buys 12 Electric Eviation Alice Planes

The German parcel delivery company DHL Express, owned by Deutsche Post, has ordered 12 “Alice” electric planes from the Israeli manufacturer Eviation and will operate them in the US.

Range 815 km, payload 1200 kg. First flight are to be commenced by the end of 2021. By 2024, all 12 planes will be operational.

[businessam.be] – DHL krijgt 100% elektrische vliegtuigen
[wikipedia.org] – Deutsche Post
[wikipedia.org] – Eviation Alice

Harvard Breakthrough Lithium Solid State Battery

Is there anybody who doesn’t work on storage?

“A lithium-metal battery is considered the holy grail for battery chemistry because of its high capacity and energy density,” said Xin Li, associate professor of materials science at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS). “But the stability of these batteries has always been poor.”

Now, Li and his team have designed a stable, lithium-metal, solid-state battery that can be charged and discharged at least 10,000 times — far more cycles than have been previously demonstrated — at a high current density. The researchers paired the new design with a commercial high energy density cathode material.

This battery technology could increase the lifetime of electric vehicles to that of the gasoline cars — 10 to 15 years — without the need to replace the battery. With its high current density, the battery could pave the way for electric vehicles that can fully charge within 10 to 20 minutes.

[nature.com] – Dynamic stability design strategy for lithium metal solid state batteries
[harvard.edu] – Harvard researchers design long-lasting, stable, solid-state lithium battery to fix 40-year problem
[wikipedia.org] – Solid-state battery

Charging a Car Battery in 5 Minutes

German language video

German battery giant Varta plans to enter the lucrative market for e-vehicles and claims to have a battery, with which a car battery can be charged within 6 minutes. If that were the case, the victory of the battery over alternative power forms, like hydrogen, would almost be certain.

Varta is not alone, competitors in the rapid-charging segment are Tesla and the Israeli company StoreDot. StoreDot expects market introduction of their “5 minutes product” by 2024; the company can point to cooperation with BP, Samsung and Daimler, as well as the large Chinese battery company EVE Energy. The architecture of the new battery is relatively simple and based on nanotechnology. Existing production lines for lithium-ion-batteries can be retrofitted.

It looks as if the battery technology will be a few years ahead of the required charging infrastructure, able to deliver 150 kW or more. Perhaps it would be a good idea to bury new power lines next to highways, to cope with the to be expected strong increase in demand for electricity for transport purposes. Build charging stations along the highway, replacing gasoline fuel stations. This would eliminate the need to have hundreds of thousands of charging points, littered all over the country. In this way, the conventional grid could be kept separate from the “highway grid”.

[t3n.de] – Vartas Batteriezelle für E-autos soll in 6 Minuten geladen sein
[t3n.de] – Varta steigt in die E-Mobilität ein
[tesla.com] – Introducing V3 Supercharging
[e-drivers.com] – StoreDot belooft een oplaadtijd van 5 minuten

NREL Webinar Overview of Floating Offshore Wind

[wikipedia.org] – National Renewable Energy Laboratory

The Future of Energy Storage – Prof Yet-Ming Chiang, MIT

Professor Chiang is involved in the Form Energy iron-air battery project.

Iron-Air – The Prospect of $20/kWh Grid Storage

It’s raining good storage news this week. The latest story comes from Massachusetts, USA, where a startup called Form Energy claims to have made substantial progress in Iron-Air battery technology, shortly after the German University of Münster reported progress in a related Zinc-Air storage technology. Form Energy says that its technology has the potential to lower the mineral component of the storage price to $6/kWh, ten times lower than with Lithium-Ion. The company hopes to have its first batteries working by 2025 and attached to the grid; a complete battery would cost about $20/kWh. The batteries are too heavy btw to be mounted in cars. In contrast to lithium, iron is abundantly present in the Earth’s crust.

A full charge cycle consists in turning pure iron into rust (discharge) and back again into iron (charge). The battery can hold the charge for up to 150 hours.

A metal–air electrochemical cell is an electrochemical cell that uses an anode made from pure metal and an external cathode of ambient air, typically with an aqueous or aprotic electrolyte. During discharging of a metal–air electrochemical cell, a reduction reaction occurs in the ambient air cathode while the metal anode is oxidized. The specific capacity and energy density of metal–air electrochemical cells is higher than that of lithium-ion batteries, making them a prime candidate for use in electric vehicles. However, complications associated with the metal anodes, catalysts, and electrolytes have hindered development and implementation of metal–air batteries, though there are some commercial applications.

[source] Artist sneak preview of Fe-O2 grid storage of the future.

[formenergy.com] – Company site
[dailymail.co.uk] – Scientists develop an ‘iron-air’ battery that stores electricity for days through rusting – and is a fraction of the cost of lithium-ion equivalents
[wikipedia.org] – Metal–air electrochemical cell
[eepower.com] – European – U.S. Renaissance of the Iron–Air Battery
[wsj.com] – Startup Claims Breakthrough in Long-Duration Batteries
[deepresource] – Zinc–Air Battery Could Replace Li-Ion Soon
[greentechmedia.com] – Long Duration Breakthrough? Form Energy’s First Project Tries Pushing Storage to 150 Hours

Read more…

Germany, US Strike Nord Stream 2 Compromise Deal

This is more of a victory for Germany (and Russia) than a compromise deal, but Deutsche Welle no doubt wants to be diplomatic. This enhances the energy security of Germany and Europe, avoids a very expensive write-off of nearly finished pipe-line infrastructure, improves European-Russian relations, and hopefully prevents Russia being pushed into Chinese arms completely. It is also a clear sign of diminishing US influence in European affairs. As neo-Gaullists, promoting the geopolitical Paris-Berlin-Moscow axis, as well as the intended “Euro-Anglo seniority swap” in the near future, where the European Mother Civilization will have “1945” rolled-back and get the upper-hand over Anglosphere, this pipeline is exactly what is desired.

[spiegel.de] – Merkels Triumph
[spiegel.de] – Dieser Deal ist ein Triumph für Putin
[economist.com] – Macron warns Europe: NATO is becoming brain-dead
[telegraph.co.uk] – Lord Heseltine suggests Brexit vote allows Germany to win WW2
[reuters.com] – China presses Europe for anti-U.S. alliance on trade
[radio-nederland.nl] – Gerhard Schroeder podcast: China – Deutschlands starker Partner

US Order for 200 Swedish 19-Passenger e-Planes

Heart Aerospace Hangar in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Two US companies have ordered 100 battery e-planes each at the Swedish Heart Aerospace company. The planes could be operational by 2026.

Data: 19 passengers over 400 km. Charging time: less than 40 minutes. Battery: 600 kWh or 0.1 kWh/km/passenger. The author of “wattisduurzaam” fears this is too good to be true, but why not? A single person in a car “burns” a comparable 1 kWh on 10 km, so why can’t a small 19-person plane represent the equivalent of 19 cars? And then there is this:

[deepresource] – e-Genius Update

Data from 2015 and a 2-seater e-Genius plane, crossing the Alps at 4000 m: 365 km, 43 kWh. That’s 43/365/2 = 0.06 kWh/km/passenger. This German plane from 2015 has a better efficiency than the (bigger) Swedish plane.

[wattisduurzaam.nl] – Voorwaardelijke order voor 200 elektrische 19-persoonsvliegtuigen

Western US Entering Period of Megadrought

A megadrought (or mega-drought) is a prolonged drought lasting two decades or longer.

[nationalgeographic.com] – ‘Megadrought’ persists in western U.S., as another extremely dry year develops
[forbes.com] – Scientists Said The West Was Entering A Megadrought. Now It’s Twice As Bad
[wikipedia.org] – Megadrought

Keystone XL Pipeline Project Cancelled

[source]

After a decade-long battle, environmentalists, as well as the Biden-presidency, finally prevailed and the Canadian developer of the pipeline TC Energy Corp withdrew from the $9B project.

This landmark decision will put the US on the path of the renewable energy transition.

[source] The yellow pipeline will not be built.

[reuters.com] – Developer officially cancels Keystone XL pipeline project blocked by Biden

The Winning Renewables – Solar/Wind or Fusion?

Currently, renewable energy generation, like solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, hydro and hydrogen and batteries as storage, have a cutting edge globally. In the long term, however, huge technological surprises are still possible. Fusion power in a way is proven technology. In fact, the entire universe is based on it. Without fusion energy, there would be no wind, solar and the rest.

The only real difference between stellar fusion and human fusion attempts is that in the first case, the fusion reactor is kept together by the forces of gravity, something that on earth is unthinkable.

The Californian private company TAE Technologies claims to have achieved a significant breakthrough:

Foothill Ranch, CA — April 8, 2021 — TAE Technologies, the world’s largest private fusion energy company, has announced a landmark fusion technology milestone by producing stable plasma at 50M+ degrees Celsius in a proprietary compact reactor design that can scale to competitive fusion-generated power.

The fuel consists of hydrogen and boron-11. The company, that has no shortage of cash, expects to bring a commercially competitive fusion reactor to market by 2030.

The company was founded in 1998, has 150 employees and by 2021 has accumulated $880 million. It has the backing of investors like Goldman Sachs, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s Vulcan Inc., Rockefeller’s Venrock, New Enterprise Associates and the Russian government.

The company said it can now sustain a plasma for an indefinite amount of time. TAE’s reactor needs to be able to heat plasma to 100 million degrees Celsius, but it recently demonstrated it can get to 50 million degrees C, which gives it confidence it can reach its goal before the end of the decade.

Not sure to look forward to a future with cheap, infinite energy, even if clean. It would be a hyper-mobile world.

TAE is not the only one making real progress:

[interestingengineering.com] – China’s Artificial Sun Sets New World Record Getting Closer to Nuclear Fusion

The artificial sun, also called the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST), achieved plasma temperature at 216 million degrees Fahrenheit (120 million degrees Celsius) for 101 seconds and 288 million degrees Fahrenheit (160 million degrees Celsius) for 20 seconds, reported the Chinese state-affiliated newspaper Global Times

The Chinese achieved higher temperatures than the Americans, but admit that they still haven’t achieved “stability”.

The Wikipedia page for TAE says…

In 2021, TAE Technologies stated Norman was regularly producing a stable plasma at temperatures over 50 million degrees

…which begs the question of what their stability duration record now really is. And if it is stable, can they acieve 100 million Celsius and still keep it stable?

The TAE-fusion reactor

[tae.com] – Fusion Energy Milestone from TAE Technologies
[wikipedia.org] – TAE Technologies
[eetimes.com] – Carbon-free Energy by Fusion Technology
[techh.info] – Fusion timeline
[focus.de] – Alle Energieprobleme auf einen Schlag gelöst? Großer Durchbruch bei der Kernfusion in den USA
[cnbc.com] – Look inside this lab where scientists are recreating the energy of the sun to produce nearly unlimited clean energy
[popularmechanics.com] – This Nuclear Reactor Just Made Fusion Viable by 2030. Seriously.
[world-nuclear-news.org] – TAE reaches ‘hot enough’ plasma milestone
[techcrunch.com] – Claiming a landmark in fusion energy, TAE Technologies sees commercialization by 2030

Read more…

The US Gets its First Offshore Wind Jack-Up Vessel

US company Dominion Energy in Virginia is building the Charybdis, an offshore wind installation ship that will be used to construct the Revolution Wind and Sunrise Wind offshore wind parks as of late 2023, with a combined capacity of 1.6 GW.

A ship like this can install a monopile foundation in a single day for a wind turbine of 12 MW or more. A 12 MW wind turbine produces in 25 years the equivalent of 1.6 million barrels of oil, emission free.

The Americans, who love to pretend to defend “freedom of navigation” in far-away places like the Black Sea or South China Sea, preferably with aircraft carriers, have a self-defeating Jones Act, that forbids foreign build vessels to operate in US waters for a longer period of time. That blocked the US from ordering offshore wind vessels from abroad, giving the Europeans a head start in developing this crucial branch of energy generation. The US will have to pay $500 million for their Charybdis, where in Europe, a similar vessel costs merely €300 million.

The vessel will get a Dutch Huisman 2,200 ton crane and will be used by Ørsted of Denmark to install the first offshore wind parks in US waters.

[electrek.co] – The US gets a game-changing offshore wind farm installation vessel
[wikipedia.org] – Jones Act

Read more…

What Goes Up, Must Come Down

Youtube text:

Controlled Demolition, Inc. (CDI) of Phoenix, Maryland, USA (acting as Explosives Design and Performance Subcontractor to Main Demolition Contractor, Dallas Demolition of Dallas, Texas who was working for RiverCap Ventures of Rocky River, Ohio, the General Demolition Contractor) performs the successful explosives felling of 90, Mitsubishi 1000A Wind Turbines in New Mexico. No effort was made to preserve foundations or other wind farm infrastructure. CDI’s crew felled the 90 Units in two (2) mobilizations to the site, permitting the Wind Farm Owner to complete salvage of blades and drive-train elements from some of the wind turbines to provide replacement parts for similar Units they operate at other wind farm locations. The Units were safely felled, exactly per plan, and ahead of schedule.

These turbines were taken down after 18 years of operation.

[wind-turbine-models.com] – Mitsubishi MWT-1000A

Difficult to find the reason for taking them down. Our guess would be that these 1 MW machines had become technically outdated, with too little power to bother to maintain them, as in 2021, 10 MW or more has become “state-of-the-art”.

[energytransition.org] – Tear down or leave up all the old wind turbines?

Controlled Demolition, Inc. (CDI) of Phoenix, Maryland, USA (acting as Explosives Subcontractor to Main Demolition Contractor, Keltbray Decommissioning of Glasgow, Scotland) performs the preparation for and explosives felling of one (1), 580’ tall, 1000 mt wind turbine and one (1), 328’ tall communications tower at the SSE National Off Shore Wind Turbine Test Facility in Hunterston, Scotland on Thursday, September 26, 2019.

Spain to Build 500 MW Hydrogen Plant

Spanish renewable energy giant Iberdrola teams up with US power company Cummins to set up a 500 MW green hydrogen electrolyser plant in central Spain, with the intention to later expand to 1 GW.

Additionally, the two companies are building a 230 MW green hydrogen plant to produce green hydrogen for an ammonia fertiliser company Fertiberia in Andalusia.

The partnership between Cummins and the Spanish utility giant Iberdrola includes the construction of the 230MW Palos green hydrogen project in Andalusia, Spain, which will supply H2 to the ammonia-based fertiliser company Fertiberia.

As a side-note, there is a “special relationship” developing between Spain and the US in energy matters. Iberdrola is very big on US renewable energy markets, now Cummins is returning the favor and steps in real big in European green hydrogen, for which the US is not yet ready.

[rechargenews.com] – Iberdrola and Cummins announce plans for Europe’s fourth hydrogen electrolyser gigafactory
[cummins.com] – Cummings corporate site
[wikipedia.org] – Cummins

Read more…

GE-Glosten 12 MW Floating Wind Platform

[Glosten]

Floating wind expands the potential of offshore wind enormously, especially in Asia. France-based wind turbine manufacturer GE and US-based Glosten naval engineering offer a Haliade-X-based floating wind platform.

[offshorewind.biz] – GE, Glosten Present 12 MW Floating Wind Turbine Concept
[glosten.com] – Glosten company site

VW Into Solid State Batteries

Volkswgen and its US-Battery partner Quantumscape have announced to build a 1 GWh solid state battery pilot plant in Salzgitter, Germany. Eventually its capacity will be expanded to 20 GWh, that is 400,000 cars with batteries of 50 kWh each.

After 30 years of trial-and-error, there is finally a product that has significant advantages over Lithium-Ion technology:

  • rapid charging in a matter of minutes
  • increased lifespan, typically exceeding that of the car
  • higher energy density of 0.5 kWh/kg, hence lower weight of the battery pack; resulting in ranges of over 1000 km
  • cost advantages

[quantumscape.com] – Company site
[wikipedia.org] – Solid-state battery
[businesswire.com] – QuantumScape and Volkswagen Sign Agreement to Select Location for Joint Venture Pilot-Line Facility
[n-tv.de] – VW-Feststoffakkus aus Salzgitter

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